This Magical Town is located very close to Mexico City in the state of Mexico. It is a haven of peace, beauty, comfortable mountain hotels and delicious Mexican cuisine. The following are the best things to do in Valle de Bravo.
1. Have fun and observe nature at Monte Alto State Park
It is a protected area, near Valle de Bravo, decreed in 2013 by the Mexican government. It has more than 20 km of trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking and with points for paragliding and hang gliding.
The trails are sectored, according to their degrees of difficulty, for use by beginners, intermediate and advanced athletes.
The Matlazinca Indians (who populated the area during pre-Hispanic times) called the place “Cerro de Agua” because of the sound of the streams flowing down through the green foliage during the rainy season.
The topography of Monte Alto was formed by three volcanoes, whose profile has changed over time due to erosion, which has shaped the slopes located on three of its four sides.
In the park there is a varied flora that includes creek vegetation, mountain forests, fungi and various types of orchids.
The animal biodiversity of the park includes hummingbirds, sparrows, owls, buzzards, pigeons, hawks, rabbits, squirrels and cacomixtles.
Monte Alto State Park has cabins and several camping sites.
This is how it looks:
2. Get to know the Black Christ of the Temple of Santa María Ahuacatlán
Among the things to do in Valle de Bravo, you cannot miss a visit to the sanctuary of Santa María Ahuacatlán, where the famous Black Christ is found.
This image of Jesus on the Cross was found in a hacienda chapel that caught fire, the Christ miraculously surviving, although he turned black from the smoke.
The temple was built during the viceroyalty and was originally called the Chapel of Calvary. Inside, four large paintings stand out on various legends alluding to the Black Christ.
The festival of the venerated image is May 3, the day of the Holy Cross and the temple. On this date, Valle de Bravo is filled with pilgrims who go to pay tribute to the Black Christ from all the cities and towns of Mexico City and nearby states.
3. Visit the Carmel Maranathá
This is a Christian refuge with the appearance of a Hindu temple, located on the way to Amanalco de Becerra, 25 km northeast of Valle de Bravo.
Maranathá means “The Lord is coming” in Aramaic, the language believed to have been spoken by Jesus and his disciples and in which several books of the Bible were written.
It is a place of prayer, meditation and retreat built in the 1970s by the order of the Discalced Carmelites and has a splendid façade and a beautiful interior decoration based on canvases, sculptures and other artistic pieces. Open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
4. Climb La Peña del Príncipe
This is a rocky promontory that serves as a natural viewpoint in Valle de Bravo. It is visible from different points of the town and is frequented by locals and visitors, especially at sunset, to see the beautiful sunsets of Valle de Bravo.
La Peña offers spectacular views of the entire valley and the lake that supplies water to the town and is the scene of water sports and entertainment.
To ascend to La Peña del Príncipe you can go directly from the main square of Valle de Bravo, going up Calle Independencia and then following the old road to the promontory.
Another more comfortable way is to take the car to a place where there is a parking lot and walk the rest of the way.
5. Admire the Great Stupa for World Peace
A “stupa” or stupa is a Buddhist monument inspired by ancient burial mounds and they are common in Southeast Asia but not in the rest of the world.
The stupa erected near Valle de Bravo, in Ranchería Los Álamos, the first in Mexico, is 36 meters high, being the largest in the Western World.
The construction contains a Buddha image and a square base, a hemispherical vault, a conical point, a crescent moon and a disk, shapes that symbolize the five cosmic elements of Buddhism: earth, water, fire, air and ether or space.
Before building the monument, a purification ceremony of the place was carried out, for which several venerable Buddhists came to Mexico.
The Great Stupa for World Peace in Valle de Bravo was consecrated in December 2010 in a ceremony headed by Venerable Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak.
6. Get to know the Church of San Francisco de Asís
The twin neoclassical towers of this temple are the tallest in the state of Mexico among religious buildings.
Its construction took more than 100 years, since it began in 1880 and ended in 1994. The religious sculptures inside are from the 17th century.
It was built on the same site as a 17th century temple that had two naves, one for the whites and the other for the Indians.
The holy water font, the baptismal font and the carved image of San Francisco de Asís come from the old viceroyalty church.
The main bell, called “Santa Bárbara”, was destroyed during the Mexican Revolution and the “San Francisco” bell was placed in its place.
7. Immerse yourself in the remote past of Valle de Bravo in its Archaeological Museum
This institution exhibits a collection of more than 450 archaeological pieces made by the ancient peoples who inhabited the current territory of the state of Mexico.
The objects were rescued from 18 Mexican archaeological sites, with some heads carved in stone standing out.
There is also a sample of ceramics and figurines, as well as jewelry, basketry and other clothing made with materials from the environment, such as natural fibers.
Likewise, winches, shredders and other utensils from areas such as Tlalpizáhuac, Teotihuacan, Malinalco, San Miguel Ixtapan, Calixtlahuaca and Tenango are displayed.
The Archaeological Museum of Valle de Bravo is located in Fray Gregorio Jiménez de la Cuenca, s/n, in the neighborhood of Santa María Ahuacatlán.
8. Visit Temoaya
The great attractions of this town, located 77 km northeast of Valle de Bravo, are its craft workshops (where wool rugs are made) and the Otomi ceremonial center (located at 3,200 meters above sea level). .
The wool rugs are made in family workshops using old wooden looms and it is a spectacle to admire how the colorful creations emerge as if by magic from the hands of the skilled indigenous artisans.
The ceremonial center was built in 1980 to provide the large Otomi community in the area with a place to perform their traditional rites.
On March 18, the ceremony of the Fifth Sun takes place and during the first Sunday of each month a cult of invocation of the cardinal points is performed.
Due to its height, Temoaya and its surroundings are training places for extreme sports athletes.
9. Attend the Festival of Souls
Participation in this festival is one of the best gifts for the spirit among all the things to do in Valle de Bravo.
Its official name is Vallesano International Festival of Art and Culture of Las Almas and is held annually for 9 days, before and after the Day of the Dead.
It was held for the first time in 2003 with the sponsorship of the Instituto Mexiquense de Cultura and the collaboration of other public and private entities from Valle de Bravo.
During the festival, the town bustles with cultural activities from all sides, including theatre, music, dance, ballet, art exhibitions, puppetry and literary events.
The main stages are the Plaza de la Independencia, the Bicentennial Stadium, the House of Culture, the Archaeological Museum and the Joaquín Arcadio Pagaza Museum.
10. Buy in the Market the 100
This market promotes itself as offering organic products harvested, raised and made in farms and artisan factories that are located within a 100-mile radius, hence its name.
It is based on five values – healthy, local, rich, fair and clean – and the vendors ensure that everything they offer is 100% organic.
It is an excellent place to buy vegetables, fruits, tubers, grains, cereals, spices, aromatic herbs, creams, butter, artisanal cheeses and other natural products.
The Mercado el 100 works on Saturday, between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm at Del Salitre 104, in front of the Municipal Port.
11. Participate in the International Festival of Music and Ecology
This festival has been held continuously since 1996 with the purpose of promoting ecological behavior using music as a means of convening and meeting.
Since 2002, the festival pays special attention to the conservation of the Valle de Bravo – Amanalco hydrological basin, a source of fresh water for the population and the basis of support for a current of recreational and ecological tourism, especially around the lake and the surrounding areas. surrounding woods.
The Valle de Bravo International Music and Ecology Festival supports environmental education programs and the development of job skills among the population, mainly women.
The concerts are performed by symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras and pop music bands and are complemented by “earth fairs” in which local farmers display their crops.
12. Find a souvenir at the Craft Market
The popular artists of Valle de Bravo make beautiful pieces with clay, natural fibers, wood, wrought iron and other materials, which they sell at excellent prices in the Handicrafts Market located in the center of the town, four blocks from the main square. , in Benito Juárez with scarves.
In this market you can buy a piece of pottery made with the brown clay extracted nearby and also high-temperature ceramic utensils.
The woven garments are made mainly by indigenous hands from the Matlatzinca, Otomi and Mazahua communities of Valle de Bravo and other localities.
In wood and wrought iron they can be obtained from furniture and doors to small decorative pieces.
This market is open from Monday to Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 07:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday between 10:00 a.m. and 08:00 p.m.
13. Try Vallesan cuisine
In Valle de Bravo you can taste pork carnitas, barbecues, lamb consommés, pig’s head and all the specialties of Mexican cuisine, accompanied by a sambumbia, which is a typical drink fermented with pineapple and piloncillo.
In this area of the state of Mexico, several fish farms have been installed and there are restaurants that can prepare you a rainbow trout fresh from the water. On the banks of the lake there are also picturesque restaurants to eat fish at fair prices.
If you fancy international food in Valle de Bravo you can find VE Cocina Española (Spanish, European and Mediterranean cuisine), Soleado, Cocina del Mundo (Mexican, international and contemporary cuisine), La Viande Avándaro (French and Italian) and Trattoria Toscana (Italian ).
14. Tour the Joaquín Arcadio Pagaza Museum
It is a museum that is located in an 18th-century building that was the residence of Bishop Joaquín Arcadio Pagaza y Ordóñez (1839 – 1918), an illustrious academic and writer from the state of Valle de Bravo.
The museum exhibits a collection of period objects that belonged to the prelate, as well as works by Vallesan, Mexiquense and Mexican artists.
Similarly, in the spaces of the Joaquín Arcadio Pagaza Museum, theatrical productions, concerts, film screenings, conferences and other cultural events are held.
15. Get to know Ixtapan del Oro
It is another cozy Mexican town, located 50 km west of Valle de Bravo, almost on the border with the state of Michoacán.
It is a picturesque town, with beautiful houses with red roofs and a striking market, with a main garden in which there is a carved stone figure of an Aztec goddess of unknown name.
A few minutes from Ixtapan del Oro there is a beautiful waterfall called El Salto, 50 meters high.
Camp Las Salinas is a hot springs site with cabins in the middle of beautiful landscapes and green areas.
Things to do in Valle de Bravo: enjoy the lake
The Valle de Bravo lake was originally a reservoir formed in the 1940s to retain the waters of the Avándaro River as part of the Miguel Alemán hydroelectric system.
The hydroelectric plant was closed, leaving the lake as a source of fresh water and as a tourist attraction.
In the lake you can fish and practice aquatic entertainment such as canoeing, boat rides, sailing, skiing and flyboarding .
On the body of water there are several floating restaurants serving fresh fish and other specialities.
What to do in Valle de Bravo with little money
If you are looking for what to do in Valle de Bravo with little money, the following activities will be entertaining and economical for you.
Stroll through the historic center
Valle de Bravo was founded by the Franciscans in the 16th century in an area inhabited by indigenous communities.
Its current name was adopted after Independence as a tribute to the Insurgent Nicolás Bravo Rueda, president of the republic three times between 1839 and 1846.
From its viceroyalty past, a beautiful historic center with cobbled streets and houses with gabled roofs, large windows and dusted walls remained.
A walk through the center of Valle de Bravo, tasting an artisan ice cream, is a good way to spend some time spending little money.
Visit the Piedra Herrada Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
If you are in Valle de Bravo between November and March, you cannot miss this natural sanctuary to admire the beauty of the monarch butterfly.
Millions of these butterflies migrate from the distant lands of the north to reproduce in the most hospitable environments of the forests of the states of Mexico and Michoacán.
Get to know Casa Gironella
When he was in Mexico, the notable capital painter of the 20th century, Alberto Gironella, shared his residence between Mexico City and Valle de Bravo, and his Vallesano refuge is known as Casa Gironella.
Gironella was a representative of La Ruptura, a current that emerged in the 1950s as a response to the school of the great muralists (Orozco, Rivera and Siqueiros), who monopolized the environment, attention and Mexican artistic work.
Alberto Gironella died on August 2, 1999 and on November 2, Day of the Dead of the same year, part of his ashes were scattered in the Valle de Bravo lake in a night ceremony held as part of the Festival of Souls.
The painter’s house of residence in Valle de Bravo is a place of tourist interest in which some of the artist’s works and objects are exhibited.
What to do in Valle de Bravo at night
In Valle de Bravo you have various night options in its cozy clubs and bars where you can have a few drinks, dance and enjoy exquisite snacks.
It is the favorite place for Vallesan girls and boys to hang out. It has a very well stocked and busy drinks bar and the DJs do not allow a second of boredom. Pachanga is in Boca Negra 204.
It is the perfect place in Valle de Bravo to dance merengue, salsa and other Caribbean rhythms, located near the town’s lighthouse. Their tropical cocktails are top notch.
The Dry Cell
It is a club located on Calzada Santa María 100 that always seems small due to the great atmosphere and the large number of customers that pack it.
At La Pila Seca the night starts to get hot from 11:00 pm, and by 12 pm it is already a hive of people drinking, snacking and having fun, while they ask the DJ for their favorite music.
It is a nightclub with excellent music to dance until dawn and a wide assortment of drinks. It is located on Santa María street, one block from Costera del Lago.
How to get to Valle de Bravo
Valle de Bravo has road facilities that make a car trip to the Mexican town from Mexico City and other Mexican cities very comfortable, both by paid highway and free roads.
Likewise, from Mexico City, Toluca, Puebla, Cuernavaca and other cities, buses leave for Valle de Bravo.
For air travel, the closest airport is Toluca. From the Mexican capital, you have to make the rest of the journey to Valle de Bravo by road.
How to get to Valle de Bravo from cdmx
You can travel to Toluca by the free route exiting through Cuajimapla or by the toll road exiting through Santa Fe. After passing the La Hortaliza booth, there is a detour that leads to the paid branch to Valle de Bravo.
Valle de Bravo can also be reached by free highways leading to Los Saucos, Villa Victoria and Amanalco.
How to get to Valle de Bravo by car from Mexico City
You have to go to Toluca through the free exit (Cuajimapla) or through the fee (Santa Fe). After passing San Mateo Atenco, take the bypass of the Bicentennial of Independence and after passing two booths there is the deviation to Zitàcuaro-Valle de Bravo and after the La Hortaliza booth there is the deviation to Valle de Bravo.
The free highway routes to Los Saucos, Villa Victoria and Amanalco have distances between 72 and 96 km. Longer paths have fewer curves.
How to get to Valle de Bravo by bus from cdmx
You can make the trip from the Observatorio bus terminal. The transport units travel through the different routes that lead to Valle de Bravo.
Via Los Saucos there are bullfights at 6:20 am and 10:20 am and the regular ticket costs 172 MXN.
Via Amanalco there are departures every 1 hour and 40 minutes between 5:40 am and 6:40 pm,
with a regular rate of 172 MXN.
You can also make use of the Zina Bus Exclencia Plus service, which has several daily departures.
How to get to Valle de Bravo on your own
You can also go to Valle de Bravo very cheaply, almost like taking a lift.
Platforms that allow car sharing at lower prices than those charged for commercial transport are becoming popular.
The modality has the problem of sharing the car with strangers. To reduce risks, these platforms register users to verify information on mobile phones, credit cards and profiles on social networks.
When a registered person has a car trip somewhere, they publish it on the platform and only verified users of the platform can opt for a seat in the vehicle.
Buses to Valle de Bravo from cdmx
Zina Bus has 11 daily departures (7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17:30, 18, 19 and 20:15) from the Observatorio terminal to Valle de Bravo.
Where do the buses leave for Valle de Bravo?
In Mexico City
Observatory Terminal, South 122 111ª, Tacubaya River Corner, Colonia Real del Monte 01140, Álvaro Obregón, cdmx.
Terminal Toluca, Felipe Berriozábal 101, Colonia Valle Verde, Toluca de Lerdo.
How to get to Valle de Bravo from Querétaro by bus
Santiago de Querétaro is located 241 km north of Valle de Bravo by road and 199 km from Toluca.
Regularly there are no direct departures from Querétaro to Valle de Bravo, but to Toluca, on a trip that lasts approximately three hours. The journey from Toluca to Valle de Bravo takes about an hour and a half.
Where is the Valle de Bravo located?
This valley is located west of Toluca de Lerdo and Mexico City. The town of Valle de Bravo, head of the municipality of the same name, is located 74 km from the state capital and 139 km from CDMX.
The municipality of Valle de Bravo is bounded to the north by Donato Guerra, to the east by Amanalco and Temascaltepec, to the south by Temascaltepec, and to the west by Ixtapan del Oro, Santo Tomás and Otzoloapan, all Mexican municipal entities.
Zinabus Valle de Bravo
Autobuses Zinacantepec is a company that provides a passenger transport service with high quality standards.
Its pricing policy provides for a 50% discount for the elderly, children under 11 years of age, people with disabilities and students during the vacation plan period. For teachers, a 25% discount applies during the period of vacation plans.
Your trip from cdmx to Valle de Bravo has a regular price of 172 MXN and 245 MXN in Excelencia Plus.
How much is from Toluca to Valle de Bravo?
Cars pay 115 MXN for the Toluca – Zitácuaro highway and the Valle de Bravo branch.
Economic activities in Valle de Bravo
Other activities that you can enjoy in Valle de Bravo spending very little money are the following:
Relax in El Pino Park
Access to this park located in Joaquín Arcadio Pagaza s/n, in the center of Valle de Bravo is free.
The park is always open and its main attraction is an ahuehuete or Moctezuma cypress (although they call it the pine) which, according to tradition, is over 700 years old.
In this place the first Catholic mass was celebrated in Valle de Bravo, in 1530 and in the garden there is an open-air exhibition of archaeological pieces rescued from La Peña hill.
There is also a fountain from the 1870s that was used to supply the population with water.
Visit the Bridal Veil Waterfall
This beautiful waterfall of approximately 35 meters high is located in the Velo de Novia Ecological Park, in Avándaro, about 30 minutes from downtown Valle de Bravo.
The waterfall that resembles a bridal veil is formed by the San Juan stream. In the rainy season the veil is wider.
The park has benches, tables, and grills for a lovely low-budget day outdoors with family or friends. There is also a sale of food and handicrafts, a camping area and horse rental.
Play sports outdoors
The surrounding hills of Valle de Bravo, such as the Monte Alto viewpoint and Cerro de La Cruz, are great for admiring stunning scenery and low-cost entertainment like hiking and mountain biking.
What are the best cheap hotels in Valle de Bravo?
Valle de Bravo has magnificent hotels that offer a relaxed and comfortable stay, with all the necessary services and succulent breakfasts to start the day with maximum energy.
It is a nice hotel with spacious and comfortable rooms and well-cared details, with a warm attention from all its staff.
Address: Francisco González Bocanegra 312, Valle de Bravo.
Inn of Legends
It is a hotel with cozy rooms and facilities, ideal for a romantic getaway in Valle de Bravo.
They offer excellent breakfasts and the rooms have all the usual facilities, plus coffee service.
Address: Bocanegra 405, corner with Peñuelas, Valle de Bravo.
It is a boutique hotel with only five rooms, with an atmosphere of maximum comfort , ideal for people who love delicacy in detail. It has fireplaces and an outdoor Jacuzzi .
Address: Calle Las Joyas s/n, Mesa de Jaimes, Valle de Bravo.
Grand Valle de Bravo Mission
It is a hotel located in the Avándaro Forest in the middle of a beautiful natural setting that includes a waterfall.
It has standard rooms, junior suites and classic and luxury chalets .
Address: Calle Fontana Brava s/n, Colonia Avándaro, Valle de Bravo.
Blue Lotus Hotel & Spa
It is a lodging that was conceived for the peace and tranquility of its guests, with an absolutely personalized service in all its dependencies, including the spa .
His motto is “we are not perfect but we are wonderful”.
Address: Avenida Tizates s/n, Barrio de Otumba, Valle de Bravo.
The River House
It is a simple and comfortable option to stay in Valle de Bravo. It is a place for full rest and from the terrace you can feel the murmur of the river. The staff serve with exquisite kindness.
Address: Calle Fontana Brava 7, Valle de Bravo.
Is Valle de Bravo a magical town?
Valle de Bravo was declared a Mexican Magical Town in 2005 by the Ministry of Tourism.
It is currently one of the nine Mexican Magical Towns, along with El Oro, Malinalco, Metepec, Tepotzotlán, Aculco, Ixtapan de la Sal, San Juan Teotihuacán/San Martín de las Pirámides and Villa del Carbón.
The Mexican Magical Towns are recognized as a way to preserve their archaeological, historical, architectural, natural, gastronomic and cultural heritage, making them more accessible for tourism.
Valle de Bravo obtained the distinction as a Magical Town mainly due to its beautiful architecture, religious traditions, archaeological heritage, beautiful natural landscapes and delicious cuisine, which combines an exquisite climate and its proximity to Mexico City and other cities to constitute an important place of touristic interest.
How to rent cabins in Valle de Bravo
The beautiful landscapes of Valle de Bravo are dotted with beautiful cabins perfectly integrated into the natural environment.
They have a spectacular location, on the shores of the Valle de Bravo lake, at a distance from the town that can be comfortably covered on foot.
The cabins are very nice and clean and the gardens are carefully maintained. The service is excellent and the atmosphere is familiar.
Address: Calle 5 de Mayo 321, Santa María Ahuacatlan, Valle de Bravo.
It is a town with beautiful cabins and excellent accommodation for people who take their car to Valle de Bravo. The staff is always attentive to attend to any concerns of the guests.
Address: Calle Fontana Rica 3, Avándaro, Valle de Bravo.
Cabins Monte Alto Hotel Boutique
They are cabins designed with a comfortably rustic atmosphere, great for a honeymoon getaway. They offer excellent homemade jams.
Address: Del Roble s/n, Monte Alto, Valle de Bravo.
They are clean, comfortable cabins, with a good location and with everything you need to have a splendid stay. The staff makes the stay very pleasant.
Address: Avenida Rosales 3, Avándaro, Valle de Bravo.
Cabins & Temazcal Rancho Las Joyas
They are rustic and romantic cabins, good to eliminate the stress of life in the city, away from the madding crowd. They are in the middle of beautiful vegetation.
Address: km 1.7 via La Joya, Mesa de Jaimes, Valle de Bravo.
It is an accommodation with beautiful views and very cordial attention. Its guests praise the delicious flavor and convenient prices of the food.
Address: El Cedro 307, Monte Alto, Valle de Bravo.
How is the weather in Valle de Bravo?
Located at 1,830 meters above sea level, this valley in central Mexico enjoys an excellent climate, fresh and without extreme temperatures.
The thermometer marks an average of 19° C and almost always moves in the range of 16 and 21° C, so there are neither harsh winters nor excessively hot summers. Exceptionally, there are cold temperatures of 8°C and heat of 30°C that are perfectly manageable with the right clothes without much discomfort.
The rainy season in Valle de Bravo is between June and September; the rest of the year it rains little.
We hope that our recommendations on what to do in Valle de Bravo will be useful on your next trip to this charming Mexican Magical Town.
- Read our ultimate guide to Valle De Bravo, State of Mexico, Pueblo Mágico
- Learn more with our definitive guide to Temoaya, State of Mexico
- Read our guide on the 20 cheap weekend getaways in Mexico